What to do If you received a warning at work

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What to do If you received a warning at work

What to do If you received a warning at work
If you receive a warning at work, either verbally or in writing, it is important to be careful about your response. Usually, a warning happens when a supervisor is dissatisfied with your work, behavior or performance.

Before this happens, some supervisors will express concern so that you can correct your mistake before an official warning is issued. Often you can pick up on your supervisor's subtle signals to determine the seriousness of the situation.  If the problem is not resolved, it may come to termination of your employment.

To ensure this does not happen, it is important to understand what to do if you receive one of the following two warnings:

1. A verbal warning

If you receive a verbal warning from an employer, it is often to discuss your behavior or performance in person. Sometimes it is a simple warning, such as a correction to a mistake you made, or a reminder for future improvement.

While this may seem simple and not at all harmful, it is important to take this advice seriously. In most cases, the intent is to give an employee another chance to improve their performance or behavior.

2. A written warning

If you receive your first written warning at work, it may look like a letter expressing concern and a conversation about your performance. While all companies are different, this is often done after you have received a verbal warning. In most cases, the employer will issue a written warning if the same offense or violation occurred. As an employee, you now sign the written warning and a copy of the letter is put in your folder.

The goal is not to get the employee in trouble. Instead, the goal is to "bring him to the table and let him know that something he has done is not acceptable and give him a chance to improve."

How should you respond?

In situations like this, it is normal to feel nervous, upset and surprised by the words or actions of your superiors. You may be overwhelmed by their warning, so to make sure you put your best foot forward, try the following tips.

Stay calm and composed

If you feel that your employer was wrong, you might quickly get defensive. Instead, it is important to remain calm and composed. This is not an easy task, but in order to defuse the situation or prevent it from getting worse, you should try to remain even-tempered.

Listen carefully

When you talk to your employer about your warning, you should listen carefully. During this conversation, your employer should explain what led to the warning and how you can do better next time. If you are worried that you will forget your employer's information, take notes. Not only will this benefit you in the long run, but it will also show your boss that you take the warning seriously.

Usually an employee is not happy about a disciplinary hearing, and that is understandable. But the advice is to go into it with an open mind and listen to what your supervisor has to say. Be receptive.

Explain your side of the issue

If you feel there has been a misunderstanding, or if you disagree with the warning, you may feel the need to explain your side of the issue. It is not easy to speak up in such situations, but honest communication can also be helpful. That said, it is important to be careful when defending your actions. Even if the situation feels unfair, professionalism is key.

Ask questions

If you get the chance, ask the questions you need to ask before you leave the meeting. This is the time to get clarity on what went wrong and how you can improve it. Sometimes solving the problem can be simple. If your employer is concerned about your tardiness, you may be able to assure him that it won't happen again. But if you received a warning about a situation that is more complicated, you may want to put a plan in place so it doesn't happen again in the future.

Take the time to process

You are only human. Sometimes mistakes do happen, but when we are called out on an error we made, it can often feel embarrassing or upsetting. While it is easier said than done, understand slip-ups are a part of learning. Your boss is giving you a chance to fix the mistake you made. So, while you can’t change what happened, you can fix the problem moving forward. In order do to this, it is important to process the warning and to give yourself grace for any errors, or missteps.

Most likely you didn’t do it on purpose. Take the warning with a grain of salt; after all, failing in your career is essential in bettering your performance in the future.

Overall, when recovering from a warning, you will want a plan, so this doesn’t happen again.

If the behavior is corrected, you can even reference your ability to learn from the experience when negotiating your next performance review.  Listen to your supervisors’ correction, ask questions and improve your performance or behavior immediately.

Was this article helpful? Yes -0 No -02 Posted by: 👨 Kathleen J. Patton
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